SoftSpot - Mass

by Jeff Penczak Rating:7 Release Date:2014-04-08

SoftSpot are a scary-looking trio from Brooklyn who make lovely, post-rock soundscapes with operatic vocals from Sarah Kinlaw that evince comparisons with Bjork and Kate Bush. ‘King Porus’ opens with a dramatic flourish, escalating from softly strummed electric guitar to a soaring, wall-rattling bombast which traverses numerous emotional plateaus enroute. ‘You/Yours’ has a nice jazzy prog vibe as Kinlaw’s vocals serpentine around Bryan Keller Jr.’s elaborately structured arrangements and guitar-lines. It’s all rather Crimsonesque and quite beautiful.

A forlorn piano trickles into the room at the start of ‘Black Room Blues’, a soft contemplative dirge with Kinlaw’s sexy lounge persona turning grown men into masses of quivering goose bumps, and the pair’s duet on ‘Gathering’ is at once eerie, dreamy, and romantic. ‘Pickup Lines’ could be a hit single with the post rock set, its strident guitar lines piercing evocative vocals and excellent production that delivers an orchestral rock sound that hangs in the air long after the track fades into the wallpaper.

‘Hera’ adds an ambient touch, although a rather dark one at that. It’s very atmospheric and cinematic, often sounding like outtakes from David Lynch’s Eraserhead, and the album ends on an upbeat note with the self-referential pop burst of ‘The New York Times’, which reminds us of the band’s adopted home and bears the cocksure posturing of someone who has made it there and is ready to take on the world and make it anywhere.

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